Cognition and Self-Efficacy of Stratigraphy and Geologic Time: Implications for Improving Undergraduate Student Performance in Geological Reasoning

By Burton, Erin Peters; Mattietti, G. K. | Journal of Geoscience Education, August 2011 | Go to article overview

Cognition and Self-Efficacy of Stratigraphy and Geologic Time: Implications for Improving Undergraduate Student Performance in Geological Reasoning


Burton, Erin Peters, Mattietti, G. K., Journal of Geoscience Education


ABSTRACT

In general, integration of spatial information can be difficult for students. To study students' spatial thinking and their self-efficacy of interpreting stratigraphic columns, we designed an exercise that asks college-level students to interpret problems on the principles of superposition, original horizontality and lateral continuity, and geologic time using text and symbols. The exercise was designed with two goals in mind: to determine the level of student confidence and cognition and to test the effectiveness of this type of exercise in large-enrollment courses. Overall, students performed well on symbolic representations of the columns, but reported low self-efficacy of their interpretations. The opposite occurred with the short-answer questions. Results suggest that these students are more comfortable with verbal questions, but they lack the ability to synthesize complete answers to diverse questions. Students also tended to feel less comfortable with questions where they had to convert text to a symbolic representation. We found this type of assignment to be extremely useful with a large class, as it elicited much information about student learning without taking extensive time to evaluate. Implications for geoscience educators include the need to incorporate techniques to improve the completeness of student responses on problems that require synthesis. © 2011 National Association of Geoscience Teachers. [DOI: 10.5408/1.3605042]

INTRODUCTION

Learning environments in science strive to set two goals for students: (1) to master knowledge and understandings constructed by previous generations of scientists, and (2) to be able to construct new scientific knowledge themselves (Gilbert, 2008). Understanding prior knowledge and constructing new scientific knowledge requires background knowledge and the ability to think at high cognitive levels. Bloom's taxonomy of the cognitive domain can be a helpful tool in categorizing lower level and higher level of thinking. This taxonomy was created in 1956 by a team of educational psychologists when they first noticed that over 95% of the questions they encountered on tests in college classes were lower levels of cognition. The original Bloom's taxonomy of the cognitive domain (1956) categorized cognition levels from lowest to highest as knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. More recently, Bloom's taxonomy has been revised to include the latest findings from cognitive research and to reflect a more active type of thinking. The new categories of cognition from lowest to highest order of thinking are: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating (Anderson et al., 2003).

Both spatial reasoning and an ability to think at Bloom's taxonomic level of synthesis are prerequisites for knowledge construction in the field of geology. The discipline draws principles from other physical sciences and relies heavily on observation, and deductive and inductive thinking skills. The use and correlation of stratigraphic columns are skills employed extensively in geology and are based on the ability to draw on multiple symbolic representations used to interpret the geologic conditions and the evolutionary history of a region.

It is known that humans in general find that it is difficult to integrate spatial information from two-dimensional to three-dimensional representations, and that individuals vary widely in their spatial integration ability (e.g., Black, 2005; Duesbury and O'Neil, 1996; Ishikawa and Montello, 2006). Study of students' thinking regarding stratigraphie columns can lead to new information about the teaching and learning of these important cognitive tasks.

Typical course content from an introductory level historical geology course addresses concepts such as correlation, "deep time" (McPhee, 1982) and evolution; these core concepts are not a part of everyday thinking. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Cognition and Self-Efficacy of Stratigraphy and Geologic Time: Implications for Improving Undergraduate Student Performance in Geological Reasoning
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.